b. 1948. Since the end of the 1980s the film and television director Bille August has to a large extent been instrumental in gaining an international profile for Danish cinema.
In his early film and television production, which includes such films as Honningmåne (1978, In My Life) and the television play Maj (1982), August showed himself to be a gifted creator of visual poetry, who can depict family life, women's fates and alienation in the welfare society with deep psychological understanding.
In Zappa (1983), Tro, håb og kærlighed (1984, Twist and Shout) and Busters verden (1984, Buster’s World), all based on novels by Bjarne Reuter, he explores the conflict- filled and magic world of the youth of the 1960s.
Pelle Erobreren (1987, Pelle the Conqueror), based on Martin Andersen Nexø's novel, won both the Golden Palms in Cannes and an Oscar. Here August created both a social historical epic and a beautiful psychological study of a boy and his father.
August's international breakthrough was followed by the film and television series Den gode vilje (1991, The Best Intentions) with a script by Ingmar Bergman. This film, too, was awarded the Golden Palms in Cannes.
Together with Jerusalem (1996) based on a novel by the swedish author Selma Lagerlöf, these two films form a sort of Nordic epic film-triology.
A move towards the international mainstream film however began with the ambitious film version of Isabel Allende's bestseller The House of the Spirits (1993) with a strong international cast, and the just as ambitious film version of Peter Høeg's bestselling thriller Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997) to be followed by a new film version of Victor Hugo's immortal story Les Misérables (1998). Ib Bondebjerg, Gyldendal Leksikon